By now, most of you have heard the recent furor over Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer’s, mandate which will cut telecommute practices and require employees to work strictly out of Yahoo headquarters come June 1st. Some would say this is pretty extreme in light of the rise in telecommuting trends.

Mayer may have a point.  Although Yahoo allowed work from home policies in the past, reports from former employees indicate that many would abuse this perk and might be a contributing factor to the malaise of the company as a whole.

What's right for Yahoo, however, is against almost every workforce trend.  Telecommuting is here to stay. In competitive hiring environments, working from home is undoubtedly an enticing perk that employers can extend to tip the scales. The technology infrastructure is finally in place to make face to face communication and remote employment simultaneously possible. Finally, thanks to a global workforce and cloud computing infrastructure, every hour of the day can be covered by an employee regardless of time zone and location, making the 24-hour work day a reality.

Given all these trends, its no wonder that work from home productivity can now be quantified. A study by Stanford University indicates that working from home increases one’s productivity by 13%, over employees who decide to stay in the office full time.

It's not longer a question of whether a remote workforce is here to stay; that's a given.  In our opinion, it's now a question of proper deployment and management.   For purposes of collaboration, communication, and innovation, there is no understating the value of face to face communication.  In a world where over 90% of communication is non-verbal, we see our customers such as Facebook, Foursquare, 99designs and more as using video communication as a means to offer the benefits of a flexible work environment along with video engagement.  This means the disengagement that is apparently happening at Yahoo, doesn't happen elsewhere.  In our admittedly biased point of view, video communication lets our customers have their cake (remote workers) and eat it too (increased productivity).

It's interesting that this topic has come up on the eve of Telework Week 2013, a global effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge to work remotely anytime from March 4-8, 2013.  Senior government officials such as Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and author of Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, see Telework Week as "an excellent opportunity for thousands of people to try teleworking and realize the great benefits it can provide. A robust telework program can help organizations improve the quality of life of their employees, while also taking strides to protect the environment, reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and increase workplace efficiency."

As Yahoo has demonstrated, a remote workforce can have negative consequences for a business when those employees become disengaged and unproductive.  On the other hand, statistics, reports, and our own customers bear witness to the fact that when done right, a remote workforce is an overwhelmingly positive company policy.

Hey Marissa, video collaboration is in! Give Blue Jeans a call.